I don’t know about you, but I totally get this idea. After all, I am painfully aware that it is the tendency of my soul to always be magnifying something. It seems to be wired into my DNA. Unfortunately, the things my soul most often magnifies are not the things that bring life and joy and peace. In fact, they tend to bring the exact opposite. I tend to magnify my circumstances, or my fears, or my anxieties, or my inadequacies, rather than magnifying my God. And when I do this, these dysfunctional patterns only seem to grow larger and larger within me, as my soul shrinks smaller and smaller. That is the essence of the word magnify (megalyno in the Greek), which literally means to make great. When things other than God are made great in our souls, our souls tend to shrivel and die.
The beautiful part of Mary’s prayer, on the other hand, is that she determines that her soul is going to magnify the Lord, rather than the million-and-one other things her soul could be magnifying at the moment. She realizes that the choice of what to magnify is up to her. She can choose to be consumed and overwhelmed by her fears and uncertainties, or she can choose to be consumed and overwhelmed by her God, and his love and his goodness. She refuses to allow her circumstances to dictate her life. In other words, she realizes that she can’t determine her circumstances, but she can decide not to let her circumstances determine her. Brené Brown said it so well when she wrote: “The only decision we get to make is what role we’ll play in our own lives: Do we want to write the story or do we want to hand that power over to someone else? Choosing to write our own story means getting uncomfortable; it’s choosing courage over comfort.”
So today, what will it be? What will you magnify? What will you allow to grow larger within you? What will you make great? What will determine the way you will live today? Will you write the story or will you allow someone or something else to do that? It’s up to you.